Leverage Your Career with a Distinct Personal Brand
Every Job is Temporary, So Build Your Brand Now!
Managing a successful career today is very similar to running a small business. In order to “stay in business” and make a profit, you must have a strategy, take great care of your customers, and have a marketing plan that resonates with your customer’s needs and priorities.
Today, it is important to understand that every job is temporary. Your next job search could be just around the corner. You will likely have several career changes–not just several jobs–over the course of your lifetime. You may want to move up or change directions, or your job could end due to a merger, layoff, or change in management.
Why wait until you must market yourself and the need to find the next opportunity is urgent (or an emergency). Learn to build your personal brand before you need to market yourself, and make self-marketing part of your core professional skill set.
Begin with “Career Asset Gathering”
Have you documented your career successes? If not, start now and make it a habit. Keep a record of projects completed, problems solved, and initiatives launched and executed. You will use this information many times in the course of your career. Gather performance reviews, client “thank yous”, and recommendations. Reviewing successes builds confidence and provides clarity.
If you are starting from scratch, begin with your proudest accomplishment and write a three sentence description. Use one sentence to describe each phase: the situation or challenge, the actions you took, and the measurable results.
As you write this success story, give it life and impact by integrating metrics. Instead of saying “Responsible for the hotel’s sales team and operations,” say:
“I provided the sales leadership that re-ignited an under-performing team at a 183-room luxury hotel. Measured and addressed team skills and knowledge gaps through training and coaching. Increased group sales by 21% in one year, and improved profit margins by 14%.”
See how much more engaging and descriptive that is?
Whether you are in sales or not, you have success stories that include such metrics. Think of the ways you have improved things in your work. Have your successes involved any of these metrics?
- Reduced regrettable employee turnover
- Streamlined a repetitive process, saving hours of labor each month
- Improved client retention and retained revenues
- Renegotiated a lease or vendor contract, resulting in savings
- Developed a written procedure, reducing errors and improving quality
Name It and Claim It
I often tell my clients “if you can’t name it, you can’t claim it.” What are you leaving on the table by underselling your strengths, impact, and accomplishments?
Develop a handful of compelling success stories. Use them in all of your self-marketing activities so hiring managers and recruiters seek you out.